Canadian indie horror film “The Void” stands as a fresh genre entry. Elements hearken back to cult classics such as “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” and John Carpenter’s revered “The Thing.” But it’s ultimately a film that remains unique. Boasting masterful visuals, superb effects, and an engaging plot, “The Void” shines as a new horror classic.
Officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) begins his patrol shift simply enough until he comes across a bloodied man on a remote road. Carter immediately takes the young man to the nearby rural hospital. However as the evening progresses, Carter’s evening drastically spirals into a surreal nightmare. Hordes of individuals in white sheets adorned with black triangles surround the hospital. Inside, the horror intensifies. Patients and doctors alike begin morphing into otherworldly entities. Carter forages into the belly of the hospital determined to stifle the onslaught.
The rural hospital creates a haunting setting. There’s a skeleton crew working, including Carter’s estranged partner Beverly (Stephanie Belding) and the incompetent nurse Kim (Ellen Wong). One patient, Maggie (Grace Munro), is pregnant. The pregnant teenager presents even further suspense, as both Maggie and her unborn baby are in peril. Munro delivers an unforgettable and haunting performance in the finale, really stealing the scene. A sort of grainy aspect and Lovecraftian essence posits “The Void” as a bit like “Stranger Things” in its retro-modern vibe. Plus, Carter seems like a similar protagonist to Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) in “Stranger Things.”
Visuals are magnificent. Praiseworthy practical effects create incentive enough to watch “The Void.” Early on, a patient evolves into a creature similar to “The Thing.” But the monster design feels inspired by “The Thing,” rather than a cheap knock off. These practical effects rank among heavyweights like the 1988 “The Blob.” There’s also a bit of a “Hellraiser” vibe. More specifically, “The Void” channels “Hellbound: Hellraiser II.” It’s likely in part because of the hospital setting, where most of “Hellbound” transpires. Further similarities include a conspiracy by hospital staff, horrendous creatures like the Cenobites, and even one character that transforms into a corpse-like state like the skinless Uncle Frank (Sean Chapman).
“The Void” wastes no time launching into a compelling narrative. In the opening minutes, two men burn a woman while a man, brutally beaten, escapes. Yet while the plot advances quickly, it doesn’t feel rushed. There’s a conspiratorial elements that lends an air of mystery and fosters ample suspense. However “The Void” doesn’t feature a tidy ending. Rather, its narrative is far from fully explained. Eerie nightmares of a dark realm with rolling grey clouds plague Carter. Dr. Powell (Kenneth Welsh). transforms into a hideous being. Although certain aspects are revealed, “The Void” leaves more questions than answers once the final credits roll. The unexplained parts may deter some viewers, but it’s arguably what makes “The Void” utterly suspenseful and creepy.
With its spectacular special effects, gripping plot, and excellent setting, “The Void” is a true horror cult classic. “The Void” ranks among the finest in Canadian horror, including gems such as “Pontypool,” “Ginger Snaps,” and “Black Christmas.” It’s frightening, visually stimulating, and pays homage to horror greats while crafting its own lore. “The Void” is one part “Hellraiser,” with a dash of “The Thing,” but wholly unique.